Help me find a place to donate a small amount of money to?
December 13, 2014 2:09 AM   Subscribe

I have two gift cards with small amounts on them (just under $5 total) and to be honest I'd much rather give it to a charity than mess with trying to spend it at the store. It seems like a trivial amount but I figure it'd be better than nothing. The problem I'm having is finding a cause that will accept less than ten dollars by card. Any ideas?
posted by DriftingLotus to Work & Money (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I was in this situation and I just gave the card to a local homeless women I know - it was for a famous coffee chain. Maybe you can do this?
posted by ozgirlabroad at 2:20 AM on December 13, 2014

Response by poster: Unfortunately one of those cards is attached to me with personal information (like a work card) so that isn't possible. But it's a great idea!
posted by DriftingLotus at 2:24 AM on December 13, 2014

I know your heart is in the right place but it actually might not be 'better than nothing'. Most charities operate on a threadbare budget. If you give them something that can't be processed within their existing systems, you're actually giving them more work to do that they don't have staff to handle. Last job I had was an organisation of 2000 volunteers serving 30,000 recipients. I was one of two paid staff. Of course other charities are better funded & staffed but many places (charity or otherwise) won't be able to justify the cost of extracting that $<5. You would be doing your favourite charity a favour if you did that leg work for them & just hand over the cash.
posted by stellathon at 2:37 AM on December 13, 2014 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: Even the ones that take online payments..?
posted by DriftingLotus at 2:38 AM on December 13, 2014

Best answer: In case anyone is curious, I did find a location online asking for only $1 donations (though more is encouraged), and they took the money.

Thanks for the suggestions! :)
posted by DriftingLotus at 2:53 AM on December 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

rather give it to a charity than mess with trying to spend it at the store.

seems like the right thing to do would be for you to inconvenience yourself by spending the money, then give a donation through normal channels. You are inconveniencing and imposing upon them over what amounts to a tiny bit of pocket change. I mean, assuming you work any kind of professional job, just posting this question probably burned through more than $5 of your time.
posted by jayder at 3:08 AM on December 13, 2014 [9 favorites]

I think the thing that was unclear here is that it sounds like it was "gift cards" in terms of cards with preloaded value, but they still worked like credit cards? When I first saw this I was assuming, too, that you were looking for someone to take, like, a retailer or restaurant gift card.
posted by Sequence at 3:22 AM on December 13, 2014

If they're Visas, rather than store cards, just buy an electronic Amazon gift card to yourself in the amount remaining on the card. That's what I do with them. .93 cents here, 2.73 there and I can download a book.

Really, that's the easiest way to deal with that sort of thing.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 4:12 AM on December 13, 2014 [2 favorites]

What I've done in the past with those nuisances where you have $2.89 or whatever on a card at a store you won't need anything from again until 2032 is to just go to that store, hang out a wee bit, and give it to somebody who looks likely to enjoy it.

I am the oldest of four and thanks to my parents' habits with surplus fair ride tickets I have a bit of a bias towards shoppers with a larger group of small children in tow. You probably have a preferred target market of your own, so just cut out the charity middleman here and enjoy.
posted by kmennie at 7:16 AM on December 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'd agree with kmennie. That or use the cards to buy some small treats (spices, chocolate) and drop them off at your local food bank.
posted by Tamanna at 4:20 PM on December 13, 2014

Best answer: I work at a charity that accepts gifts of any size, online and otherwise. We LOVE the smaller denomination gifts just as much as larger ones. They may not go as far in our program budgets as a large grant, but they are direct proof that the work we are doing matters to the person who donated, and that kind of thought and generosity is an incredible gift. So on behalf of other non-profit workers. Thank you for thinking of donating!
posted by nerdcore at 9:51 PM on December 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

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